Murders of Shabtay Kalmanovich and Yaponchik solved by Moscow investigators
The assassinations could be linked to the struggle for Moscow markets. Killers were different, but the customer was probably the same person, a source familiar with the situation said.
Detectives of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department know, who shot the notorious businessman, president of Spartak basketball club Shabtay Kalmanovich and who ordered the kingpin Vyacheslav Ivankov nicknamed Yaponchik (Little Japanese). Though they will not be able to indict anyone due to lack of evidence, they consider these cases solved, Rosbalt reported.
A source in law enforcement said they managed to track the killers, who shot Kalmanovich, while investigating other crimes. The gang consisted of Chechen and Ingush natives and stole expensive cars from Muscovites. Criminals ambushed victims when they were getting in the cars. Together with the car owner, they drove to a deserted place, seized the keys and documents, threw the victims out, and drove away. The hijackers hunted mostly for women drivers, spying on them at expensive restaurants, boutiques, and elite houses. For several years the gang had been operating using this scheme, but in 2010 their phones were wiretapped. In a conversation, one of the hijackers said that in November 2009, he was personally involved in a major crime near Krasnopresnenskaya embankment. That was where Shabtay Kalmanovich was killed. Then investigators linked the SIM cards of hijackers' mobile phones to Kalmanovich's case — the killers might have used the same numbers, since they had been traced to the crime scene. Moreover, for some times the thieves were using the same vehicle in which the businessman had been shot. Furthermore, they had connections to one of the parties to the conflict around Dorogomilovsky market, co-owned by Kalmanovich.
Car thieves were eventually detained, but law enforcers failed to make them confess to the businessman's murder. Therefore, the three raiders were charged only with a series of assaults on the owners of expensive cars and subsequently sentenced for that.
On November 2, 2009, at about 16.35 local time, Shabtay Kalmanovich left the office in his Mercedes, telling the secretary that he was going to an important meeting. Kalmanovich's people became aware of the incident at 16.45. Driver Pyotr Tumanov called the office, where only a secretary remained, and shouted into the phone that they had been shot. A large amount of money was being transported in the car, some $ 1.5 million. The recipient remains unknown. The killer shelled the car, stopping next to it at the crossroads. Kalmanovich was killed on the spot, Tumanov was seriously injured. The investigation established that Kalmanovich was murdered for his participation in the conflict over Dorogomilovsky market.
At the site of Kalmanovich's murder
A source of Rosbalt claims that a few months earlier, the notorious kingpin Yaponchik was killed for the same reason. An attempt on the 69-year-old Vyacheslav Ivankov was made on July 28, 2009 at 19.35 local time. After dinner in the Taisky Slon restaurant, Ivankov went out, accompanied by several people. At that very moment, he was shot.
Ivankov's bodyguards took him to the Botkin Hospital. Doctors recorded that Ivankov had been shot in the abdomen and immediately took him in for the surgery. However, in October, the crowned thief died.
Detectives believe that Yaponchik was involved in the conflict with Dorogomilovsky market, siding with Kalmanovich.
At the time of the assassination, Kalmanovich was the director of Dorogomilovsky market. However, many were irritated by his participation in the business, including those from the Caucasus mafia. Some reports suggest that the businessman also had documents related to Tishinsky market in the car at the time of the murder.
"We have not intel that Yaponchik was killed by the same person as Kalmanovich. However, the two could have been ordered by the same customer, as far as we know," the source of Rosbalt said.